Book: Christ in Ten Thousand Places: Homilies Toward a New Millennium
Author: Walter J. Burghardt, S.J.
Paulist Press, NY pp. 277
Excerpt from Introduction:
Back in 1994, a gifted preacher John Buchanan remarked perceptively to a group of fellow preachers gathered in Chicago by the editors of the journal The Living Pulpit: Part of what the preacher is about is knowing what the issues are, the questions being asked, which define a culture in a given time and place. The preacher must read and listen and see and participate in the world in which the congregation lives. We need to know what is being written by novelists, poets, journalists, essayists. Kathleen Norris in her best seller Dakota says that Lemmon, South Dakota, is so small that the poets and preachers have to hang out together.
Read, listen, see, participate. Four verbs that declare with rare succinctness the experience that lies behind an effective sermon, behind all effective communication.
In this way alone can a preacher get beyond abstractions, beyond generalizations, beyond pious pap for the multitude. In this way alone does a preacher touch "this' congregation, "this" culture or "these" cultures, the justice issues of "this" acre of God's world, where "these" men, women, and children hurt, where "they" find their joy, what "they" hope for. Yes, many injustices overleap a particular area, are far from parochial, and their extent should be impressed on a parish that is linked in ever-widening concentric circles to a diocese, to a church universal, to a world, a humanity that is our broader parish.
In this context of diversified experience, I am delighted to borrow my title from a sonnet shaped by a unique master of rhythm, the Jesuit Gerard Manley Hopkins. Untitled, the sonnet begins "As kingfishers catch fire" and closes as follows:
. . . Christ plays in ten thousand places,
Lovely in limbs, and lovely in eyes not his
To the Father through the features of men's faces.
Excerpt from Book:
Justice begins with Isaiah, "Peace is a work [an effect, an enterprise] of justice" So too Vatican II. But what is the justice that brings peace into being? Ethical justice and legal justice can give us order, security, prosperity. We have to give each man, woman, and child what each deserves, what each has a right to expect, because it has been written into law or can be proven form philosophy. Without this much, life on earth turns into a jungle, where "might makes right," where the prize goes to the powerful, to the swift, the shrewd, the savage. Vatican II recognized this: A firm determination to respect other humans and peoples and their dignity, as well as the studied practice of brotherhood, are absolutely necessary if peace is to be established. Consequently, peace is likewise the fruit of love, which goes beyond what justice can provide.
Yes, if by justice you mean ethical and legal justice. What Vatican II did not say, probably did not see, is that love does not go beyond what "biblical" justice can provide. For biblical justice "is" love. Biblical justice is fidelity to relationships, to responsibilities, that stem from a covenant. What relationships, what responsibilities? To God: Love God above all else. To people: Love each human being like another self, as an image of God, especially the less fortunate. To the earth: Treat things, handle each facet of God's creation, with respect, with reverence, as a gift of God.
Table of Contents:
From Advent to Easter
1. Blessed is the woman who has believed
2. Forgive, and you will be forgiven
3. The stranger: yesterday and today
4. Prophet accepted, prophet rejected
5. Born blind, how does he now see?
6. Love heals
7. I'll never believe unless
8. By this all will know you are my disciples.
9. Let not your hearts be fearful?
10. In her short life never felt love
11. You too should bear witness
12. Ordinary times . . . or extraordinary?
13. Hebrew prophet, Christian preacher
14. New wine in old wineskins?
15. Who are we? What are we to do?
16. That the power of Christ may dwell in me
17. Go home, tell your friends
18. You shall be catching people
19. Peace is a work of justice
20. Let go and let God
21. "Weightier matters" of the gospel?
22. The parish: community of salt and light
23. Power made perfect in weakness
24. To heal is to make whole
25. Who is this?
26. Perfect hostess or perfect disciple?
27. What do you have that you did not receive?
28. Save our children/increase our faith
A Feast and Memorials
29. Greater love than this no one has
30. You too a sword shall pierce
Memorial of Our Lady of Sorrows
31. You are God's building
Dedication of the Lateran Basilica
32. From Bohemia to Philadelphia
Memorial of St. John Nepomucene Neumann
33. The king's good servant but God's first
Memorial to St. Thomas More
34. Mohawk and Christian or Mohawk/Christian?
Memorial of Bl. Kateri Tekakwitha
35. Always given up to death for Jesus' sake
Memorial of North American Martyrs
36. It takes so much more to have a marriage
37. A miracle, a mystery, a mind-set
38. In God's image to God's likeness
39. You cannot love like Jesus unless . . .
40. Love that gives life
41. Come, Holy Spirit, Kindle in me . . . fire
Homily on the Holy Spirit as Fire
42. Covenant with the law, covenant with the Lord
Homily for a Red Mass
43. Clothe yourselves with a compassionate heart
Homily for a medical school graduation
44. Remake America for our children
Institute for Child Advocacy Ministry